This week, Ira spoke with Felix Silla.
Felix Silla, whose career in show business spans more than 50 years, is author of “The World of Felix Silla.”
Silla was born in a small village outside Rome, Italy. He trained as a circus performer, came to the United States in 1955, and toured with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
His multiple talents as a bareback rider, trapeze artist and tumbler brought him to Hollywood, where he became a stuntman, starting with the Gig Young-Shirley Jones vehicle, “A Ticklish Affair.” A man of many faces and talents, Silla created many now iconic roles, such as Litvak, the maniacal, miniature Hitler who menaces George Segal in “The Black Bird” (his favorite performance); both a “child gorilla” and stunt ape for the original “Planet of the Apes” and “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” films, the adorable “Wunka” the flying Ewok and Cousin Itt on the TV show, “The Addams Family.”
He was also responsible for the performance of the robot Twiki in the TV series “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” In part due to his short stature of 1.19 m (3 ft 11 in), he has often doubled for children in such movies as “The Towering Inferno,” “The Hindenburg,” and “Battlestar Galactica.” Between movies, he frequently appeared in Las Vegas and Reno night clubs with his own musical combo, The Original Harmonica Band”.
Silla’s most famous role is, of course, “Cousin It” from the original television series “The Addams Family”. His performance of the character made him so popular that Cousin Itt was carried over into various media including both the animated series and the motion picture versions of “The Addams Family.” He also provided the voice of Mortimer Goth from The Sims 2, the best-selling video game of 2005.